There is a peak near Seattle on which there is a mailbox(yes, a physical mailbox we all know). The proximity and the difficulty attracts many hikers and this serves as an apt training hike for the bigger mountains. Since this was right in the backyard, I had postponed this hike for a long time and today was a perfect day for the attempt. I hadn’t hiked for 2 weekends and had a craving for snow. Since this was at quite an elevation, I expected snow. I decided to go solo and chose Sunday since the forecast was warmer compared to Saturday and I could avoid wearing snow boots.
There are 2 trails, a longer newer trail and the shorter steep old trail. I took the steeper one at 9:45 AM and I was curious about my ascent time. I kept a faster pace and continued even without taking a water break. It was not as bad as Mt Baring section, but yet good enough to trouble the knees. Actually, I started enjoying the ascent after some time and kept moving without losing much of the pace. Snow started at around 3500 feet and icy conditions on the boulder section was tricky to cross. I eyed and tried to land on iceless boulders. I reached the summit with the famous Mailbox and I had taken 1hr 50 minutes for the 4000 ft, 2.5 mile ascent. I had my lunch and took enough time hoping that some of the ice would melt off. The weather was just perfect, not too windy or cold with clear views all around. I have been hiking these mountains since 3 years and the surrounding peaks looked familiar and friendly. I had initially thought that I would take the shorter trail up and longer one down, but I decided to take the shorter one back too. I wore micro-spikes for a short distance, crossed the boulder field with the same trick and picked my pace for the next section. The descent felt so fast – I used to track the elevation on my watch and observed that I lost batches of 200 ft elevation in just few steps. I thoroughly enjoyed the tiny switchbacks and it was like I was going down on water slide in a tube. I took 1hour 20 mins (much faster than I expected) to descend and reached the parking lot by 1:45 PM. I checked the Strava stats later on the timings and people had taken way less time than mine for the ascent and descent. I was happy with my timings though. A nice day out.